Big Plans for the Condo

When I shared about our pot rack earlier this week I mentioned that we have some exciting plans for the kitchen, but in reality we’re working on more than one room so I want to share the bigger picture before we get to the specifics of kitchen.

See, when I moved into the condo in 2009, I thought that it would be pretty temporary – just a good starter place that would give me my own space and allow me to get some equity instead of renting. So most of my decisions about projects were made in that light; I said “I won’t be here long, so it’s not worth it” over and over. If I knew I’d be writing this 5 years later, I might have done a few things differently, but what’s done is done. 🙂

When Matt and I got married in August 2012, we assumed that our time in the condo would be short – that we would buy a house within a year or two. But we’ve been living together in the condo for 18 months now and we’ve decided that it is wiser in the long run for us to stay in the condo for a few more years and save more before we buy. Since the condo is our home for a while longer, we’ve decided to do some things to make it more comfortable and enjoyable while we’re here.

The major thing we really don’t like about the condo is the tile floor. You can see pictures here but I try to de-emphasize it in pictures so it’s hard to grasp how bad it is until you’ve seen it in person. The previous owners installed the tile themselves and honestly they did a very poor job – there are broken tiles, tiles not level on the floor (I can rock back and forth at my favorite spot to iron clothes), and grout is coming up every where in chunks (especially when I vacuum). Here are a few pictures of the floor where the tile in the living room / dining area meets the linoleum in the kitchen.

Bad Tile Job

Bad Tile Job

A few weeks ago we made the decision to take the plunge and redo the floor! That’s right – in just a few weeks, our little condo will be rid of all of the ugly tile and we will have wood-looking laminate flooring! I am SO excited that I can hardly stand it! Imagine this in the the living room and kitchen….



My sister and brother-in-law (who are coming up in a little over a week to install the flooring) recommended this laminate option – Home Depot’s Home Decorators Collection Distressed Brown Hickory laminate. When we saw it in the store last night we really liked it so we decided to go for it!

We chose against real hardwoods based on the cost and the return that we could get on it. The reality is that our condo is in a neighborhood that is safe, but older and not very sought-after. Don’t get me wrong – it’s fine. It’s just very utilitarian. Our HOA only does the most necessary projects to keep things functional, we have very minimal landscaping (the common area grass gets cut and that’s about it), our neighbors don’t pick up their dog’s poop (don’t get me started…), and there is usually at least one broken-down car in the parking lot. All that’s to say, there’s a limit on the price that our condo will ever bring in a sale because we’ll quickly be too expensive for the neighborhood. So while we want to make quality improvements to the condo, there is a limit to what we think is wise to invest in it.

This is a pretty wordy post to just talk about flooring, but this is big and exciting news for me, since I’ve been despising this tile floor for over 5 years. I literally almost cried last week when I was vacuuming because I know that I am almost done with this floor!

And in case you’re curious, here are a few other things that I’ve got planned since we’ve had the “let’s stay in the condo a while longer” discussion –

  • Clean out storage areas – attic, outside closet, etc.
  • Make our bedroom feel more finished – add curtains behind the bed, add shelves for artwork, add pillows for bed
  • Make the loft more usable – move furniture
  • Repaint red wall in living room
  • Touch up paint around the house – closets, stairways, downstairs bedroom, etc.
  • Make the downstairs bedroom feel more put together
  • Kitchen updates (next post!)